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Horse jaw artwork from 13,000 years ago goes on display

The decorated equine jaw bone, considered the oldest piece of art yet uncovered Wales. Photo: British Museum

The decorated equine jaw bone, considered the oldest piece of art yet uncovered Wales. Photo: British Museum

A decorated piece of horse jaw considered the oldest known work of art from Wales has returned home for a temporary exhibition at Llandudno Museum.

The jawbone, dating to around the end of the last Ice Age about 13,000 years ago, was recovered from Kendrick’s Cave in Llandudno in the mid-1800s by a copper miner named Thomas Kendrick.

Kendrick was cleaning out the cave to use as a workshop to continue his trade polishing stones to sell to tourists.

While doing so he stumbled across a fine collection of Ice Age objects and human remains.

After he died his collection was broken up.

The jaw fragment turned up, more than 50 years later, in a London junk shop.

It has been loaned from the British Museum for the exhibition, which tells the story of Ice Age Llandudno.

Stone polisher Thomas Kendrick. Photo: Llandudno Museum Facebook page

Stone polisher Thomas Kendrick. Photo: Llandudno Museum Facebook page

The piece of bone has been on display at the British Museum almost continuously for well over a century, usually with Ice Age art from France.

Ongoing research shows that the carved bone, and other burial items unearthed in the cave, were left by people living in the area 13,000 to 14,000 years ago. The skeletal remains of three adults and a younger person were found in the cave.

They made jewellery from bear, deer and cattle teeth in a similar to style to those of Belgium and France from the same era.

The exhibition will open on April 5  and run until September 30.

 

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